Iryo and Renfe AVE trains at Malaga's María Zambrano railway station. Salvador Salas
This is why high-speed train services between Madrid and Malaga will be much slower than usual this summer

This is why high-speed train services between Madrid and Malaga will be much slower than usual this summer

From June onwards the journey time will be at least three hours between Spain's capital and the Costa del Sol, instead of as little as 2 hours 25 minutes

Ignacio Lillo


Monday, 22 May 2023, 12:36


High-speed train services on the Madrid to Malaga route will take longer to arrive this summer due to major improvement works on the railway line linking Spain's capital with the Costa del Sol.

The works, carried out by rail infrastructure company Adif, on a 30 km stretch of track in Cordoba from 1 June until 30 September will result in a journey time of up to three hours and 20 minutes, in what is usually a trip of between two hours and 25 minutes and two hours and 55 minutes.

On 31 March the state rail operator Renfe put AVE train tickets to Malaga, Seville, Cordoba and Granada on sale for summer travel. At the time the company warned that due to the improvement works scheduled by Adif on the high speed line timetables had been rescheduled. Those who purchased their tickets before 30 March will have the option of cancelling, or changing them for free.

Despite the works, Renfe said it would maintain its commitment to punctuality, and refund 50% of the ticket price on the AVE and Avant services for delays of more than 15 minutes, and 100% for delays of more than 30 minutes.

The works will also impact the trains of the new private operator, Iryo. The company, which currently operates four daily trains on the line, and soon to be five, estimates journey times of between two hours and 55 minutes and three hours, an extra 15 to 25 minutes than usual.

Why in summer?

Since last year, Adif has been carrying out, in phases, a complete renovation of the Madrid-Andalucía high-speed line, which is the oldest in Spain and has been in operation for 30 years.

The 650-million-euro works are aimed at improving the line’s infrastructure and its signalling and telecommunications functions.

The upcoming situation has already entered into the political arena, with Popular Party Malaga president Patricia Navarro accusing Pedro Sánchez of neglecting the AVE and the arrival of tourists to the Costa del Sol in summer. "Only a PSOE and Podemos government is capable of planning works that will mean permanent delays in the high speed line that connects Malaga and Madrid in the middle of the high season," she said.

Adif technical sources told SUR that they reject these accusations, and argued that the planning of works during the summer months had already started last year, and are done in summer for good reason. "They are waterproofing works, which have to be done in dry months,” they said.




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